Sunderland under-18s were made to rue a host of missed opportunities as West Bromwich Albion scored two second-half goals to seal victory in the U18 Premier League on Saturday.
The young Black Cats began the game well and were awarded a penalty with just 10 minutes on the clock, however the Baggies keeper pulled off a good save to his right to deny Adam Bale.
Lee Connelly reacted quickest to the save but saw his header kept out by a wonder stop from Albion’s goalkeeper.
Elliott Dickman’s side continued to dominate large spells of possession but suffered another setback in the opening period when Jack Diamond's drilled effort was chalked off for offside despite strong appeals that the goal should have stood.
The young guns were made to rue those missed chances after the restart as Albion made the most of the let offs and struck twice in 11 second-half minutes.
The hosts took the lead on 55 minutes following a goalmouth scramble from a set-piece before they doubled their advantage from close range as Sunderland failed to deal with a cross from the left-hand side on 66 minutes.
Sunderland rallied back in the closing stages but it was too little too late as the match drifted to a close.
Speaking post-match under-18s coach Dickman said: "We didn't deserve to lose having played so well."
Sunderland under-18s starting XI: Pain, Howard, Taylor, Young (Biwer 75), McAughtrie, Diamond, Bale, Allan, Kimpioka (Best 67), Fowler (Leonard 67), Connelly.